A third of all American drivers have so much junk in their car, there’s no room left to sit

A survey of 2,000 American drivers found 31% of cars are overwhelmed with random stuff. Photo by Ante Hamersmit on Unsplash

A third of drivers say their cars are so full of junk, there’s no room for anyone to sit in the car except for them, according to new research.

A survey of 2,000 American drivers found 31% of cars are overwhelmed with random stuff. Likewise, 35% of drivers don’t know how often they should have their car washed.

One in five (19%) haven’t cleaned their car within the past three months, and 10% don’t even remember the last time they cleaned their car.

Fifty-three percent of people have had a drink get spilled on the floor/upholstery, while 44% have had their clothing get caught and ripped in the door.

Meanwhile, 36% say have been burnt by hot seat belt clips in the summer and 59% struggle with slick roads in the winter.

These problems have required some unique solutions. Respondents have tried everything from keeping salt or kitty litter in the trunk in case they get stuck in the snow, driving with the front windows down halfway and back windows down all the way to keep the car ventilated in the summer and using cruise control and stability control as needed, all in an effort to work around driving inconveniences.

One respondent even has a solution to find their parked car, “I drop a map pin in my phone to keep track of where the car is parked in a new location.”

Commissioned by CarShield and conducted by OnePoll, the survey found different seasons play a role in how drivers adapt their car hacks and workarounds.

Despite being favored by 51% of drivers, summer sees drivers taking extreme measures to avoid a hot, stuffy car. Forty-six percent of respondents said they would rather shave their heads bald than sit in a hot car.

Winter, on the other hand, is hated by 68% of drivers. More than seven in 10 Americans (71%) said they’ve had a “close call” while driving in icy conditions.

Respondents said they avoided major accidents by steering into their drift to course-correct (54%), shift into a lower gear (38%) and safely use the emergency brake to come to a complete stop (28%).

“Drivers who fare the best in less-than-ideal seasonal road conditions, are the ones who take the time to anticipate the challenges they will meet and prepare for them,” says Brandon Evans, Senior Editor of CarShield. “This includes making sure there is enough time to get to destinations without being rushed, preventing drivers from making risky driving decisions in poor driving conditions.”

Nearly two in five Americans (39%) have even made major modifications to their vehicles to be safer. Tire upgrades and suspension modifications are popular for drivers, while one respondent said they modified their hazard lights to be brighter and more visible in an emergency.

In addition to making modifications to their cars, drivers have a number of items on-hand in case of an emergency, including tire jacks (51%), jumper cables (47%) and extra masks (42%).

Sixty percent of drivers have a savings fund set up for any car-related emergency. This comes in handy as 82% of drivers have had to pay for their own car repairs.

On average, drivers pay $373 out of pocket for repairs. Besides insurance, 58% of cars on the road today are no longer covered by their manufacturer warranty.


  1. Tire jack 51%
  2. Jumper cables 47%
  3. Extra masks 42%
  4. First aid kit 41%
  5. Flashlight 39%
  6. Emergency roadside kit 38%
  7. Ice scraper 37%
  8. Gloves 37%
  9. Water 33%
  10. Dead battery jumper 29%

>> Download the video and infographic for this research story <<
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